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09/23/2022

The Most-Common Pickleball Injuries & Remedies

Common Pickleball Injuries

Pickleball is one of the most fun and enjoyable sports in the world, and the style of play seems like it was almost intentionally created to minimize injuries. From the equipment (light pickleball paddle and plastic ball) to the rules (smaller court, underhand serves, regulating the power and spin potential of the paddles), everything about pickleball screams “this is a sport you can play your entire life (at least recreationally)!” But, pickleball is still a sport, so the potential for injury is always present. In this article, we’ll break down some of the more common injuries you might hear about around the sport of pickleball.

The Most-Common Pickleball Injuries

At JustPaddles, we pride ourselves on providing expert paddle and pickleball advice and want to pass along tips and tricks we’ve learned from our time on the court. With that being said, for expert medical advice, we recommend you speak with a doctor or healthcare provider. Now, let's begin.

Tendinitis of the Elbow (Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow)

Frequently referred to as “Tennis Elbow,” elbow tendinitis is definitely one of the most common pickleball-related nuisances you may encounter in your PB career. Whether you deal with inflammation on the inside of the elbow (Golfer’s Elbow) or the outside of the elbow (Tennis Elbow), tendonitis can be a real pain in the…elbow! Tennis Elbow is often caused by repetitive motion - aka swinging a pickleball paddle thousands of times per week! Inflammation of the elbow joint can cause pain, and reduced strength, and in many cases, require months of rest or rehab to get back to playing pain-free. 

Remedies

Rest: Resting your elbow is a great way to relieve the inflammation and get back to playing at 100%. 

Ice: Icing your elbow after a match can reduce inflammation and keep your tendonitis at bay. 

Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain medication might be the most common way to combat tendonitis. These medications can reduce inflammation/pain and help you get through your matches with less swelling and pain. *Before taking any medication, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider to get their recommendations.

Physical Therapy: Physical therapy, whether at home or with a professional, can strengthen the elbow’s muscles and tendons and help build strength and stability. 

Elbow Brace: Wearing a brace can reduce the tension on your elbow and may provide some level of comfort as you play. As opposed to the previous remedies, a brace is simply to help you get through the match without pain, but is not a preventive measure. You can find these braces at your local drugstore. 

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Plantar Fasciitis 

Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Because (as we learned as kids) the heel bone’s connected to the toe bone! All joking aside, Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition that, similar to tendonitis, can cause intense pain and keep you off the courts for months on end. Also similar to Tennis Elbow, Plantar Fasciitis is caused by repetitive movement. Given pickleball’s hard playing surface and repetitive pounding, Plantar Fasciitis is a common injury seen around the courts. 

Remedies: 

Rest: Resting your feet from repetitive pounding activities is a great way to relieve the inflammation and get back to playing at 100%. 

Ice: Icing your foot after a match can reduce inflammation and keep inflammation down. 

Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain medication might be the most common way to combat Plantar Fasciitis. These medications can reduce inflammation/pain and help you get through your matches with less swelling and pain. *Before taking any medication, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider to get their recommendations.

Massage/Stretching: Massaging the area can help with pain relief and tightened muscles, and stretching can help with pain relief, flexibility, and help shorten the amount of time you’re on the sideline with Plantar Fasciitis. 

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Rotator Cuff Tendonitis/Tear 

Rotator Cuff issues come as many injuries do, with repetitive (mostly overhead) motion. Although pickleball doesn’t have the same impact on your shoulder as tennis or racquetball, overheads are still present and shoulder issues can come from a pickleball swing, even if the mechanics of a pickleball swing are mostly below head level. Like many injuries, shoulder issues can be nagging and Rotator Cuff injuries can even lead to surgery. 

Remedies: 

Rest: Resting your shoulder is a great way to relieve the inflammation and get back to playing at 100%. 

Ice: Icing your shoulder after a match can reduce inflammation and keep your shoulder strong and healthy. 

Physical Therapy: Physical therapy, whether at home or with a professional, can strengthen the muscles and tendons and help build strength and stability in the shoulder. 

Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain medication might be the most common way to combat Rotator Cuff Tendonitis. These medications can reduce inflammation/pain and help you get through your matches with less swelling and pain. *Before taking any medication, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider to get their recommendations.

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Knee Pain

Knee pain is almost inevitable when playing sports, especially sports like pickleball that are played on a very hard surface. The repetitive pounding, bending, lateral movement, and forward and backward running in pickleball cause your knees to take a beating, no doubt about it. Whether an ACL tear, a meniscus tear, or just good old-fashioned sore knees, you can expect to encounter knee pain at some point in your pickleball journey. Tearing of the knee tendons is not uncommon, but a lot can be done to strengthen your tendons and ligaments to delay any potential knee problems. 

Remedies: 

Strength Training: A strength training program might be the key to healthy knees. Strengthening the tendons and ligaments of the knees, as well as the surrounding muscles can play a big role in keeping your knees healthy. 

Rest: Giving your knees the occasional day off (from sports, at least!) is a great way to relieve the inflammation and get back to playing at 100%. 

Ice: Icing your knees after a match is never fun, but can reduce inflammation and keep them strong and healthy. 

Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain medication might be the most common way to combat knee pain. These medications can reduce inflammation/pain and help you get through your matches with less swelling and pain. *Before taking any medication, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider to get their recommendations

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Like any sport, the potential for injuries is always present, but there are preventive measures you can take to prevent injury, and remedies that can help you hop back on the court in no time! We hope that this article was helpful, but if you have any additional questions for the Paddle Experts at JustPaddles they can be reached via phone at 866-382-3465, email at experts@justpaddles.com, or you can click here to live chat. Don't forget, we're JustPaddles and we'll be here for you from Click To Court!

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